October 16 marks the annual celebration of World Food Day. While this day sounds delicious, it's actually an anniversary - October 16, 1945 marked the founding of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. World Food Day is now recognized in 150 countries around the world, and seeks to raise awareness of issues relating to hunger and poverty that still present a challenge to many despite the world producing enough food to feed all. The day and the organization also challenges everyone to take part in World Food Day in different ways, relating to a theme.
This year the theme is Grow, Nourish, Sustain. Together. The theme was chosen in light of the global health crisis caused by the novel coronavirus and COVID-19, and considers not only the stark importance of all #FoodHeroes working to make sure regular food distribution continues, but it also acknowledges that the pandemic poses harsher realities for poor and vulnerable communities. The Food and Agriculture Organization encourages, "Countries, the private sector and civil society need to make sure that our food systems grow a variety of food to nourish a growing population and sustain the planet, together. We all have a role to play, from increasing the overall demand for nutritious food by choosing healthy, to not letting sustainable habits fall by the wayside, despite these uncertain times."
With this theme and the history of the day in mind, there are a few things we can do to mark this anniversary and pay homage to the spirit of the day and the issues it seeks to highlight.
World Food Day at the Library
While the library provides meal support during the Summer months with our annual Free Summer Food Program, beyond these meals we are always serving up information through our library's collection. With conservation, budgeting, and nutrition in mind, the library has a number of resources to help support your own personal participation in World Food Day. Whether you want to focus on reducing food waste, budgeting better, or even growing your own food, you can learn about it at the library! Take a look at a few titles that might guide a grassroots World Food Day pledge.
This small selection of books has everything you need to know about growing food in and around your home, regardless of whether that home is a studio with a balcony or a suburban dream with a full yard. Urban farming and vertical farming can help supplement a grocery list, and is also a fun hobby to cultivate. It also doesn't need to be an expensive hobby, as many plants with shallow root systems can be grown in smaller containers made from recycled vessels such as 2L soda bottles or milk cartons. Regardless of the space you inhabit, check out these titles to find tips on growing your own food.
Being World Food Day it seems a necessity to include some cookbooks. These books all relate to World Food Day in that they are cookbooks focused on budget cooking and eliminating food waste. This is but a small taste of what the library has to offer in it's collection, however. Check out more results for budget and zero-waste cooking.
Part of World Food Day is highlighting issues related to poverty and hunger. As with any issue, an understanding of the moving parts and challenges of it is key to combating, and ultimately solving the issue. This selection of titles relate to and expand upon the issue of global hunger.
Do you know what you would do if you were faced with the prospect of missing a meal? While some (to many) readers likely have the privilege of not having to worry about this, regardless of the status of your next meal having an idea of the resources in your own community will help raise awareness and garner support for these services. For World Food Day, why not familiarize yourself with local lifelines to help spread the word? A good place to start is SiliconValleyStrong.org, which features some local resources relating to COVID-19, including information on food resources. If you follow this link, you can scroll down to find a map of all the food resources in San Jose, from grocery stores to schools to food banks. There is also information on senior shopping hours and nutrition programs, contact information for Meals on Wheels, links detailing how to recognize safe dining options during the pandemic, and additional meal resources for adults.
Low-income families looking to regularly supplement their food budget may consider applying for assistance from California's CalFresh. CalFresh is California's version of the federally named Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, or SNAP. Individuals and families looking for food budget assistance can now apply and submit all necessary documents online. Curious on if you qualify? You can find CalFresh eligibility basics here.
If you or someone you know is in a position where they cannot wait for a CalFresh application to be processed, there are local resources that can supply more immediate relief. Second Harvest of Silicon Valley is a local organization that provides food assistance for low income families. Quite simply, their mission is to "[l]ead our community to ensure that anyone who needs a healthy meal can get one." Anyone in need of a meal can get in touch with Second Harvest of Silicon Valley (1-800-984-3663) or visit their website to get connected with free food.
Finally, if you are outside of San Jose but within California, you can use this tool to find a food bank near you.